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Child Dev. 1988 Aug;59(4):908-17.

Locomotor experience: a facilitator of spatial cognitive development.

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University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


2 studies were designed to test the prediction that spatial search strategies (i.e., "object permanence") may be influenced by locomotor experience. Infants were assigned to 3 groups based on locomotor history: prelocomotor, prelocomotor with walker-assisted experience, and hands-and-knees creeping. Infants in all groups were 8.5 months of age. Results showed that hands-and-knees and walker-assisted locomotor experience facilitated spatial search performance. The longer that infants had been moving, the higher their scores. Furthermore, there were no differences between the hands-and-knees and prelocomotor/walker-assisted groups, suggesting that the relation between locomotor experience and spatial search performance was not merely a function of the maturation of prone progression. A third study found that the quality of locomotion affected object permanence performance: Belly crawlers performed differently than infants with hands-and-knees or walker experience, insofar as they performed at prelocomotor levels regardless of weeks of locomotor experience. Taken together, the pattern of findings suggests that infants with more efficient modes of locomotion are more likely to profit from the experiences generated by locomotion.

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